Addressing the Roots of Difficulty and Despair

At CCIM we are called to address the roots of difficulty and despair. Instead of trying to fix the bad fruit of our lives, our communities, and our nations, we go right to the heart of the matter by breaking down strongholds in the spirit realm, by leading in repentance and honesty before the Lord, and by teaching individuals and communities to stand in the gap for their people in the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ.

CCIM at the roots

Leadership Lesson Four – Relationships before Productivity

Those who gravitate to leadership are often those able to make things happen. Those who ‘do’ among us are rewarded and given positions of responsibility and authority. And yet any leader who wants to continue in respected positions of leadership must learn that at the heart of all great leadership is an ability to relate with people. John 13:34-35

Now, many of us would shake our heads ‘Yes!’ as we hear this, and yet what happens when a relationship goes bad? What happens when we are given the choice of choosing productivity or relationship?

Sadly, particularly when we are immature, we often choose the productivity rather than working to right any relationships. And yet, relationships reveal the heart of any leader. Matthew 5:23-24

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Bearing God

I learned the power of fasting years ago. It was during the start of my own inner healing journey. I was scheduled for prayer ministry every second week and I made a commitment to myself to fast for the twenty-four hours leading up to and through my appointments.

I never really could pinpoint the power of that fasting at the time but I did know the power of those prayer sessions, they changed my life. A few years later a friend was experiencing her own set of prayer ministry yet she confided to me that she wasn’t getting much out of them, that God still seemed distant and her heart was not touched.

I suggested that she fast the twenty-four hours leading up to and through her sessions and the next week she reported a profound new depth in her experience of prayer and of healing before the Lord; it was a night and day difference to what had been before.

There is something about fasting that removes our coping mechanisms, our veneers, our defences. When we give up food for a time we are brought low in need and the ultimate sort of preoccupation with self. And in that reminder of our hunger we turn to God with a heart serious on receiving His help; we can’t do this on our own.

As the years progressed and I began ministering in prayer myself there were many a time when I would awake in a morning and was not really hungry and so I would eat very little. Later in the day I would come to find that so-and-so needs an emergency prayer session and then I would know, “Oh that is why I ate so little today.” Many times the Lord orchestrated my fasting without my prior knowledge.

Not only is fasting for ourselves but fasting enters us into spiritual work alongside the Lord Jesus Christ; our understanding is heightened and our perceptions are clearer.

In more recent years my fasting has taken on various modes. I rarely fast food any more and I’ve learned not to fast unless the Holy Spirit explicitly directs me. For fasting must never be used as a manipulative tool to get what we want. It is never a good idea to take what worked here and try to make it work there.

Our walks with the Lord must never become business, never a product that we transfer from here to there thinking that it worked so well there, why not here? Relationship with God is not something to be taken lightly and so we do not move according to our own best wisdom or ideas and this includes fasting.

In recent years as I’ve travelled and ministered overseas each trip is preceded by some sort of fasting. God woos me and invites me to join him and his work, entering into the holy of holies. My first trip was preceded by six weeks of no makeup; no easy feat at the time. Since then I’ve fasted jewelry and tea amongst other things; not easy either if you know me.

I find fasting closely linked to a nesting type experience where all of who I am is entered into silence and heart preparation for a spiritual work to come. Because we at CCI move at the explicit direction of the Holy Spirit and not before, this fasting and nesting is in fact one of the first things to alert me to a trip and to ministry to come. I’ve learned to watch for it and pay attention to it; when my spirit hunkers down there is the Lord’s work for me around the corner.

Fasting is no longer for myself per se, it’s not by my volition but rather it’s an act of preparation and coming alongside the Lord with a tangible and physical sign and commitment that I agree with what is to come and his use of me; I am glad to be alongside God in this way. He directs it and enables it, enables me.

My first trip in 2014 is back to Uganda. We’ve not yet settled on the exact month but I can feel it coming. Thoughts have moved from my mind to my heart and are now settling in my spirit and I’m entering into the nesting and the birthing that precedes a work of the Lord.

This bearing of a work is hard work. The heart of God presses down on me and I become his bearer in a way, birthing him.

Alongside You

When Jesus Christ came to earth the Jews were under Roman rule. This rule over their lives was heavy- handed and in many cases without justice. The people were suffering. Not unlike many of our own lives today.

The Jews therefore believed that when the Messiah came he would do away with the oppression from their land and lives. They thought he would fix all that was wrong in their worlds.

But of course, Jesus did not do that. Instead, Jesus came with a different plan.

Instead of focussing on the external difficulties and problems Christ directed our attention to our internal heart difficulties. He addressed the problems within our own souls.

But because of this difference in priorities from what the people wanted to what Christ brought, many of the people at that time missed out on Jesus.

They couldn’t see what Jesus was offering due to their preoccupation with their own idea of a savior; they simply wanted their lives fixed.

While we at CCI are certainly not the Christ, we find ourselves running into a similar thinking as we travel and minister in various areas. Often it is assumed that we are bringing money to help with various projects and tangible needs within communities.

We understand this assumption for it has been the way of many missions organizations over the years to, for instance, build buildings and feed orphans and clothe widows. And while there is nothing wrong with this kind of work it is not the work we are called to.

Rather, Capturing Courage International is called to spiritual transformations, heart healing, church renewal, and leadership development. CCI is focussed on the internal state of our hearts before God.

We therefore sometimes feel like Christ might have felt when the people kept expecting him to fix their lives when in actuality he had something much bigger in mind.

We at Capturing Courage believe that God’s priority is not about fixing our lives, rather God’s priority is about entering into our lives with us, growing us stronger in the face of difficulty, and developing us into people of integrity, character, and holiness.

This is the particular work of Capturing Courage Int’l. We come alongside encouraging and equipping, growing and developing your inner core as a person, a leadership team, and a congregation.

If this is something that would be of value to you then let’s continue in relationship and communication and the Lord will indeed meet us mightily as we wait on him together.

because of Jesus,
Cyndy Lavoie and the Team @ Capturing Courage International

A Three-Fold Ministry

At Capturing Courage International we bring a three-fold braid of ministry. These following three dynamics strengthen and create a work that is not easily undone. These three focuses create a strong bond in the Lord and with each other.

These three priorities mirror God’s position toward us:

  • God the Father continually initiates RELATIONSHIP with us
  • Jesus Christ his Son, through salvation, makes TRANSFORMATION possible
  • Our Holy Spirit DISCIPLES us, helps us, guides us

Strand #One: Authentic Relationships (Coming on the Inside)

This is marked by three simple processes: 

  • let’s get to know each other
  • let’s wait on the Lord together
  • let’s enter into the Lord’s work together

This begins through email, Facebook, and phone calls. First we get to know one another. What are your callings and visions from the Lord? How is the Lord leading you? Together we begin to pray about what the Lord might have us do in person alongside each other.

And God-willing, and as the Lord leads, we come to where you are. Even on the ground we enter into fellowship first and foremost. We then minister as you invite. On the ground alongside the work God has given you we bring:

  • inner healing and deliverance, heart healing for you and your people
  • intimacy with God through prayer, humility, and leading
  • heart conversations, preaching and teaching, about life, love, and ministry

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of my salvation.” Psalm 51:10-12 NLT

Strand #Two: Spiritual Transformation (Authentic Conversations)

Through dialogue, preaching, teaching, and healing prayer we tackle heart issues such as:

  • how much does God love us?
  • what do we do with sin and failure?
  • how might our churches reflect the heart of God?

Once we are on the ground, living alongside you for a time, eating what you offer us, travelling as you travel, we have opportunity to discuss the many difficult and tangible questions facing leaders and churches today.

There is a fresh movement of the Lord throughout the global church and as we pay attention to this, learning from it, we are positioned to bring perspective outside your own area. We are continually learning and becoming bigger thinkers ourselves and this we offer to you towards your own success. We therefore dialogue and seek the Lord together for wisdom’s and clarity for you and the ministry you are uniquely called to. We might discuss issues such as:

  • law, legalism and rules, versus freedom in Christ
  • men and women in marriage, the church, and leadership
  • leadership basics, integrity, holiness, humility and more

“Make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous portion of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”  2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT

Strand #Three: Ongoing Discipleship (Spiritual Teaching)

Through CCI Materials we are challenged: 

  • to align our lives with the heart of God
  • to become personally intimate with our God
  • to be bold in our love for each other

A big part of the work of Capturing Courage is the continuing development of relevant materials to encourage and equip both leaders and their congregations. We bring the heart of God to our lives. We bring forth issues of compassion, mercy, gratefulness, faithfulness and more.

While Bible Schools around the world are doing a great job of bringing the hard skills of expository training, Biblical studies, historical Christianity and more, we at CCI are bringing the soft skills of hearts made right with Christ. Out of this flows wise and compassionate ministry that changes lives. We do this through:

  • Capturing God’s Heart – a monthly topical Bible Study sent direct to your email
  • Walking in Spiritual Authority – A Discipleship Training Course set to equip you to carry the heart of God
  • Other Specific resources and answers to dilemma’s and questions found on the field as we travel from place to place.

“Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me.” Isaiah 8:16 NLT

This Three-Fold Ministry:

  • Relationship
  • Transformation
  • Discipleship

Serves the hearts, minds, and lives of the body of Christ. 

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

To get this and more about what to expect from us at Capturing Courage Int’l  CLICK HERE for a PDF you can download and print for your reference.

Spiritual Authority Course Progress Report

023Good news at Capturing Courage – we have completed Workbook Four of our Walking in Spiritual Authority Course and are set to complete part two of the international version for our indigenous colleagues.

This will take a good month or more to complete so please keep us in your prayers as we embark on this next task.

So far the Capturing God’s Heart material is going out to over 4400 christian leaders, which is in turn being passed on to an estimated 150,000 people.

The Spiritual Authority course is currently in the hands of a dozen christian leaders as we test run the material. We simply commit this course to the glory of God and the equipping of his people.

“Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.” Proverbs 4:5-6

To donate to the work of Capturing Courage CLICK HERE

Thinking of Running Away?

I have a hard time with those intent only on when Christ is returning.

Though my own calling is in many ways to prepare the bride for Christ, so that we don’t shrink back but welcome forward, the preoccupation with when this will happen has always seemed a waste of time.

Just today I read someone’s comment about how going to war with Syria just might bring about the rapture sooner. Really? Towards what good end I might ask.

I’m a firm believer that the quality of our experience in heaven will reflect the manner in which we lived for Christ here on earth.

If we are avoiding life here, how will we find life there?

If we are only longing for escape and that golden shore, who are we leaving behind? What have we left unfinished?

Now years back I was of the same folly. Welling up from within was this longing for Jesus to return. Often I would utter the words, “Come Lord Jesus, Come.”

We considered painting these words on a wall at my church, and I was upset and angry when that didn’t happen. Don’t we want him to come? I railed.

Until one quiet evening when the Lord said to me, “It’s not time yet Cyndy, stop it now.”

I was out of sync with the Lord’s timing first of all, but even more important, I was out of sync with the Lord’s heart.

God is holding back, that all might come to know him. ALL

And this is what gets me about longing for heaven. It’s pretty selfish.

When we are not able to settle into the presence of God here on earth, when all we want is escape to some nirvana, when all we can think about is what will be, I truly wonder what we will get.

About the same time that the Lord reprimanded me for my selfish heart, I began to understand that the work we do on earth will in some way impact eternity.

The days we invest here become investments in eternity. Eternity is not the end of now as we know it, it is the continuation of now.

So, here in the now, what are we investing in?

Is your life given over to the things that God gave himself for? Or are we selfishly looking to run away from our messed up world?

God didn’t run away. Still isn’t running away. Neither should we.

Forefront Leaders

P1320276 compressedIndigenous pastors are at the forefront of community care and development.

Taking orphans under their care,  building schools, arranging for water developments, and more, they are serving and caring 24/7 in ways that outpace many (I should say most) of us in the west.

With limited resources much is being done and the level of faith and trust in the Lord’s provision in the mix is something we can all learn from.

One of our colleagues in Kenya was part of a Pastors Conference a few weeks back, and during the time there an elderly woman died. Turns out she had under her care three orphans with now, nowhere to go.

This man took the children to his mother’s, with the last of his money, and managed to get home to Nairobi, albeit tired and hungry (he had spent his travel money on a funeral for the woman).

Talking with him this morning we found that he had just been back to the interior of Kenya, to his Mom’s home to ensure that the children were beginning their term of school with everything they needed.

This is but one example of the ongoing and unexpected, but privileged work, that indigenous pastors are accomplishing in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In fact, when this gentleman first told me of the elderly woman’s death and of these children his exact words were, “I am excited for these children, they are under my care now, and the Lord has good things in store for them.”

With an attitude like that, anything is possible, and much will be accomplished in and for the lives of these children.

This and more stories like this is what makes it such a privilege to be serving indigenous pastors, they are after all forefront leaders in their communities and it is simply an honor to bless on them.

Please keep these children and their benefactor in your prayers.

Ministry in Mozambique

The summer is flying by, and with it we are thick into preparations for our fall ministry trip to Mozambique.

Pastor Daniel and nine churches have been waiting for over a year and a half for us to be there, and we are deeply glad that the time has come for fellowship in company of each other.

The plan is that I (Cyndy) will head there on October 16th for 15 days on the ground. We have received donations enough to cover about two-thirds of the ticket price, and half of the total cost of the trip.

Thank-you to all those who have donated so far – The work of Capturing Courage is dependent on the donations and prayers of ordinary folks like yourselves.

A few specific things to keep in prayer about:

– Clarity in our final communications as we near our travel time.

– Full funding so that we stay on budget for this trip.

– Heart preparation for a work of the Lord, for both Cyndy and the people in Mozambique.

– All details coming together.

art auctionThere are also five evangelists and pastors from Kenya and Uganda who would like to travel and join us in Mozambique – please pray for clarity, direction, and funding to work for them as the Lord leads.

The work of Capturing Courage continues to solidify and expand. As we are faithful with the depth the Lord continues to increase the breadth.

Please be in prayer for us beyond this trip to Mozambique. The question of ‘which country next?’ is playing in the back of our minds and we wait on the Lord’s specific direction.

The choices forefront in our minds at this time are India, Kenya, Myanmar, & Uganda.

Your prayers for clarity and wisdom and guidance on our behalf are very appreciated.

If you live in the Vancouver area mark your calendars for our Open House & Art Auction Fundraiser coming in late September.

If you are new to the work of Capturing Courage Click HERE.

“Make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous portion of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”  2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT

To support this work around the world Donate HERE

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More Favor in India

093More favor in India. This comes from Pastor Ravi,

“Dear sister till now, I and church members distributed Capturing God’s Heart studies,1456 to church Reverends and Presidents, c.s.i.Deans, Chairmen, Evangelists, Roman Catholic Catechist’s Pastor’s and many people.

They are reading and understanding the love of God and many local and non-local persons and non-local churches Director’s are asking me to distribute the God’s Heart studies.

We are using and understanding, very gracious and very comforted with holy ghost. Thank you dear lord Jesus.”

We simply give God the glory for the impact of the Holy Spirit via these simple Capturing God’s Heart studies.

Spiritual Authority Course Begins in India

Timothy in IndiaPastor Timothy in India reports:

“My Dear Sister in Christ,

Heartily Greetings to you in Jesus precious Name!

Thank you for CCI School of Discipleship – Part ONE.

I am Studying and understanding every sentence, very useful to our ministry.

I and our ten pastors we all are studying and praying every day.

Thank you for your kind prayers for our ministry

May God bless you and your ministry

Yours brother Timothy www.tribalevangelisttimothy.org”

You can find out more about Timothy and the work he is doing HERE

As the Walking in Spiritual Authority material begins to make its way around the world we simply pray that students are personally touched by the power of our Living God.

Please pray for these eleven lead pastors in India, for both provision and for clarity about how to take this course to other pastors and to congregations.

They are hungry for training and discipleship material. Timothy writes weekly asking for further materials as he has been one of the primary distributors of Capturing God’s Heart, having already passed them on to 1000 pastors.

We are just trying to keep up with him! We declare the Lord’s blessing and peace over him this day.

You can support the work of Capturing Courage HERE